Community Connections

​The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona invests in the communities of Sedona and the Verde Valley. These investments are made possible through the generosity of residents and organizations who choose to make gifts of enduring impact.

Our endowed funds maximize donor gifts, improving the welfare of our community today while leaving a legacy for future generations.

Spirit of Sedona Nominations

Do you know people, nonprofit organizations, or businesses in our community who have distinguished themselves for their spirit of service? Whether they contribute time to volunteer, lend financial support to great causes or provide leadership for nonprofit organizations, this is your opportunity to honor how they’ve demonstrated exceptional philanthropic spirit, leadership and volunteerism throughout Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Nominations must be received no later than Friday, May 15. Awardees will be recognized at the 2020 Spirit of Sedona awards on Thursday, September 17.

How to Submit

Please fill out the online forms through the links below. You will receive a confirmation email after submitting each nomination. You may submit nominations for as many categories as you wish, as well as multiple nominations per category.

  • Philanthropist of the Year - This award is presented to an individual or family with a record of exceptional generosity who, through direct financial support, has demonstrated outstanding civic and charitable responsibility, and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership in Sedona and the Verde Valley
  • Nonprofit Organization of the Year - This award honors a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that demonstrates significant accomplishments in meeting the needs of the community and makes Sedona and the Verde Valley a better place to live.
  • Volunteer of the Year - This award honors an individual who selflessly volunteers their time and talents to improve our community. The leadership of this individual has significantly improved the quality of life for residents of Sedona and the Verde Valley.
  • Community Collaborator of the Year - This award honors an individual or business that demonstrates effective community engagement and leadership by working collaboratively across the community to improve the quality of life in Sedona and the Verde Valley.
  • Business Benefactor of the Year - This award honors a local business that demonstrates leadership and an outstanding commitment to supporting the work of nonprofits.

Please contact  Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218 with any questions.


Past Spirit of Sedona Award Recipients

Philanthropist of the Year

  • Dick and Becky Kruse - 2019
  • Chuck Marr - 2018
  • Emile Daher - 2017
  • Barbara Vickers - 2016
  • Eric and Bernadette Meyers - 2015
  • Rabbi Alicia Magal – 2014
  • John Loveland – 2013
  • The McInnis Family – 2012
  • Mary Fisher – 2011
  • Harry Newman – 2010
  • William & Elizabeth Sweeney – 2009
  • Susan N. Coleman – 2008
  • Jim Rappaport – 2007
  • Jack & Carole Wooldrik – 2006
  • Al and Helen Wolfe – 2005
  • Bill Garland – 2004
  • Tom Leenhouts – 2003
  • Al & Marion Herrman – 2002
  • Marie & Dan Richard – 2001

Volunteer of the Year

  • Elizabeth McFarland - 2019
  • Holli Ploog - 2018
  • Katie Chorlton – 2017
  • Doug Copp - 2016
  • Randy and Milton Crewse – 2015 
  • Al Comello – 2014
  • Katie Hamilton – 2013
  • Rod Abbott – 2012
  • Linda Brecher – 2011
  • John DiBattista – 2010
  • Harvey & Julie Grady – 2009
  • Andrew Brearley – 2008
  • Barbara Litrell – 2007
  • Jim Bishop & Adele Seronde – 2006
  • Tom Sweitzer – 2005
  • Bill & Justine Kusner – 2004
  • Janeen Trevillyan – 2003
  • Jean Swanlund & Katie Powell – 2002


Nonprofit Organization of the Year

  • SedonaKind - 2019
  • Steps to Recovery Homes & Mental Health Coalition Verde Valley – 2018

  • Sedona Area Garden Club & Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition – 2017

  • Sedona Historical Society - 2016

  • Rainbow Acres – 2015

  • Sedona International Film Festival – 2015

  • Yavapai Food Council – 2014

  • Rusty’s Morningstar Ranch – 2014

  • Verde Valley Sanctuary – 2013

  • Oak Creek Watershed Council – 2012

  • Sedona Food Bank – 2011

  • Sedona Recycles – 2010

  • Sedona Community Center – 2009

  • Friends of the Forest – 2008

  • The Light Heart Foundation – 2007

  • Sedona Public Library – 2006

  • Sedona Arts Center – 2005

  • Keep Sedona Beautiful – 2004

  • Chamber Music Sedona – 2003

  • Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition – 2002


Business Benefactor of the Year

  • A Day in the West - 2019
  • Yavapai Broadcasting – 2018
  • Enchantment Resort – 2017
  • Pink Jeep Tours - 2016
  • Sterling Financial – 2015 
  • PJ’s Village Pub & Lounge – 2014
  • Entertainment by Tom and Shondra – 2013
  • Design Group Architects – 2012
  • BSE Rents – 2011
  • Weber’s IGA – 2010
  • Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa – 2009
  • New Frontier’s – 2008
  • Bashas’ Sedona – 2007
  • Focus on Graphics – 2006
  • Sedona Center/Amara Creekside Resort – 2005
  • Larson Newspapers – 2004


Community Collaborator of the Year

  • Emerson Theater Collaborative - 2019
  • Barry Maketansky – 2018
  • Shondra Jepperson – 2017
  • Sedona Public Library - 2016
  • Rotary Club of Sedona – 2015 
  • Verde Valley Medical Center – 2014


Charlie & Linda German

Local couple plans to leave legacy for Camp Verde

CHARLIE AND LINDA GERMANCharlie German and his wife Linda call Camp Verde home and share the belief that being active in their community and doing things for others are key components of a genuinely healthy and satisfying lifestyle. That’s why they have chosen to enrich the local community long after they are gone by incorporating legacy giving into their financial plan.

The town library is a symbol of how the Camp Verde community has worked together over the years to improve the lives of local residents for generations. “I first knew this library as two 6-foot long shelves located on the eastern wall of the Wingfield Mercantile Company above the Levi jeans,” said Charlie. “As our town grew, so did the library, eventually becoming what it is today. But that did not happen on its own. The whole community pitched in their time, effort and even their own hard-earned money to make the dream of a library that meets the needs of our community into a reality. Although many who dreamed of this place, and those two wooden shelves, are no longer with us, they live on because they loved this community so much and were willing to give to its future.”

Charlie and Linda have a long history of giving back, whether it was committing their time to a project or contributing financially. As their family grew, their priorities changed, but they still made time to serve the community by giving of their time and experience. Now that their children are out of the nest, Charlie and Linda have had an opportunity to reassess their financial contributions to the community, while recognizing their commitments to their own children.

“Our family has experienced some very difficult times in the not so distant past,” said Charlie. “These challenges have stretched Linda and me as parents and, with the help of our financial planner and a local attorney who specializes in family trusts, we have been able to reduce our own stress by providing a safety net for our kids. During this process, we have also gained insight into how we can continue to affect some critically important organizations that we cherish and have been involved with in the past.”

Today, Charlie and Linda have begun incorporating legacy gifts into their financial plan, including a number of important community organizations like the Camp Verde Library Endowment. Just as the community came together to leave a lasting legacy on the town in the form of that Library, Charlie and Linda can be remembered through their contributions. In Charlie’s own words, “For us, giving to the library means giving back to the entire community including people of all ages, children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities throughout their entire lives. Our Town of Camp Verde has a spirit of willingness to invest in themselves and pay it forward to future generations, and we are proud to be a part of that legacy.”

To leave your legacy, contact ACF of Yavapai County by at 928.583.7815 or ACF of Sedona at 928.399.7218.

Dawn & Harvey Bershader

Sedona couple offers advice on leaving a legacy

​HARVEY AND DAWN BERSHADERWhen Dawn and Harvey Bershader moved to Sedona as retirees in 1998, locating places of worship that would meet their needs was among their first priorities. After only two visits, Dawn determined that Christ Lutheran Church was the best place for her. Harvey’s journey was a little more challenging. At the time, there was no established Jewish place of worship. His investigative skills led him to a small group who worshiped in several different churches, one of which was Dawn’s new church home, Christ Lutheran Church. 

“I had seen a big sign on Highway 179 announcing the ‘Future Home of the Jewish Community of Sedona’ and after digging a little deeper,” said Harvey, “I chose to become involved with the future Jewish community by chairing the Development Committee’s campaign effort. I later served on the Architecture Committee for a new building, which was built on land purchased from Christ Lutheran.” 

Harvey had attended Lutheran services with Dawn back in Dallas and as Sedona’s Jewish community became more established, Dawn repaid the favor by attending services with Harvey. “We attend each other’s faith services and see ourselves as ambassadors to the Jewish and Lutheran communities here,” said Dawn. “Our fellow congregants from the two faiths are our family.” Both Harvey and Dawn come from small families, so their faith communities connect them with an extended family that fulfills their desire to enjoy a positive life while offering them an opportunity to give back to the Sedona community as a whole. 

“During my childhood years, I’d observed my father giving back to our small community and that stuck with me,” said Harvey. “When I turned 40, I realized that I had been so work-focused at Atlantic Richfield that I was not giving back in a meaningful way. So, for the next 40 years, I have focused on giving back, in one way or another, to every community I have lived in. Now, I fully understand what giving meant to my father—it feels good and makes a difference.” 

Dawn is equally committed to the community. “Before moving here, we’d both vowed that giving back to our community would be a major pursuit since we no longer had to be bothered with the work of our careers. Little did we anticipate what work would be involved in the various volunteer efforts we were about to undertake!” She was invited to serve on the Board of Advisors for the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona by a member of the Jewish community and has participated in various roles for the past 16 years, including planning the annual Spirit of Sedona recognition event. 

Their involvement with ACF of Sedona and other local nonprofit organizations opened their eyes to the financial aspects of giving back and the opportunities available to benefit the community. “While our estate isn’t huge, we do ask ourselves where we want our money to go after we’re gone,” said Dawn. “We are thankful for the ability and energy we have right now to give back in many ways to our adopted community. We see our Legacy Gift as an opportunity to invest in the future of Sedona and truly believe our gift will make a difference!” 

Christ Lutheran Church and the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley provided Dawn and Harvey with the local family and support they were seeking when they arrived in Sedona 20 years ago and they have chosen to invest their time and energy as well as a portion of their estate to ensuring that spirit lives on. This is how the Bershaders are creating their legacy. 

Find out more about leaving your own legacy by contacting ACF of Sedona, 928.399.7218.

Enchantment Resort

ACF of Sedona and Enchantment Resort collaborate to grow sustainable funding for local conservation efforts

BRUCE GROSBETY, ENCHANTMENT RESORT MANAGING DIRECTORLongtime community partners the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona and Enchantment Resort have developed an innovative approach to corporate philanthropy that aims to protect the unique local environment. In conjunction with Enchantment Resort’s 30th anniversary celebration, the Resort is pleased to announce that over ten percent of the fees from guided hiking and biking activities will be set aside in the Boynton Canyon Preservation Fund. This investment will provide philanthropic support to activities that honor and preserve the land and its cultural heritage. The Resort is located at the mouth of Boynton Canyon, considered a significant archaeological area, a sacred Indigenous landscape and gateway to the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness of the Coconino National Forest.

The Boynton Canyon Preservation Fund, established nearly two decades ago by Enchantment Resort through ACF of Sedona, was born out of a desire to honor and preserve the surrounding red rock landscape. “We are proud of the preservation efforts that have been maintained through the Fund,” said Enchantment Resort Managing Director, Bruce Grosbety. “In order to continue supporting local environmental and cultural projects in Boynton Canyon for years to come, we needed to find a way to make our funding of these efforts sustainable.”

Up to $36,000 could be added to the Fund each year through this new model that sets aside five dollars from every guided hiking and mountain biking fee and turns guests who explore the landscape of Boynton Canyon into micro-philanthropists that are helping to preserve the unique values of the canyon. This idea of ‘ecotourism’ is especially important in Sedona, where the spectacular, but fragile, landscape is the backbone of the hospitality industry. Enchantment Resort and their community partners are at the heart of the effort to maintain Sedona’s status as an international destination through sustainable tourism. Enchantment Resort understands that this level of stewardship is critical and encourages others in the hospitality industry to make an investment of their own.

“The Boynton Canyon Preservation fund is an example of philanthropy at its best,” said Tracey McConnell, ACF of Sedona Regional Philanthropic Advisor. “The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona is proud to support Enchantment Resort in making meaningful investments in our community according to their unique vision”

In addition to strengthening its commitment to the surrounding environment, Enchantment Resort is honoring its 30th anniversary in 2017 with the introduction of new guest activities including indigenous cultural programming. As part of the year-long celebration and a commitment to visitor education, the resort launched its Canyon Conservationists Program geared towards families staying at the property. Developed by Enchantment Resort Activities Director, Felicia Filep, the Canyon Conservationists Program offers a variety of activities and lectures focusing on saving bee populations, organic gardening and composting, nature walks, recycling and much more. The program is complimentary to guests throughout the spring break season in an effort to spread knowledge about the protection of Sedona’s spectacular natural and cultural environment. Click here to learn more.

For more information about ACF of Sedona’s support of local conservation efforts and corporate philanthropy projects like this one, call 928.399.7218.